Content Marketing Guide for a Successful Strategy
24% of marketers plan on increasing their investment in Content Marketing in 2020.
Very few companies doubt the power of Content Marketing. But unfortunately, only a few have the skills and expertise to leverage content marketing strategy for making a real impact on sales.
With the right content marketing strategy, you can promote your business, attract qualified prospects, and maintain good relationships with your customers.
This article positions Content Marketing at the center of your Digital Marketing actions. We aim to give you complete insights on the types of content, why businesses need content marketing, what are the best channels for content marketing, and best practices for setting up a Content Marketing that converts. This blog also offers insights on the measurement metrics you can use to map your content marketing strategy’s performance.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and sharing of online content designed specifically to help you reach your digital marketing goals. Its format can vary, ranging from video or infographic to blog article or email.
Content must be original, useful, and entertaining to showcase what your business has to offer. Relevant, high-quality content can be used to drive more traffic to your site. It is essential to attract the right customers.
Why is Content Marketing important to your business?
Content Marketing helps improve your conversions. Indeed, it educates your prospects and connects you with your customers. On the one hand, you build the necessary trust with your prospects. But besides, you also encourage conversions by providing the information they need to make their decision to contact you.
Why practice Content Marketing?
The Return on Investment (ROI) of Content Marketing is phenomenal!
Content Marketing is at the center of all your marketing actions. All your prospects, whatever their age, their location, consume information on the Internet. Hence Content Marketing is merely Marketing today.
Content Marketing refers to sharing your knowledge or advice in various formats:
Videos, Podcasts, Infographics, Webinars,
Social media publications,
Quiz, Generators, Calculators, and other widgets
Content Marketing is, therefore, essential to building a brand in our increasingly digital world.
All of this content is also material for Social Media Marketing.
They fully contribute to the SEO efforts:
By providing quality content to search engines,
While participating in obtaining backlinks.
By targeting specific “buyer profiles,” Content Marketing becomes the key component of Inbound Marketing.
As a reminder, Inbound Marketing uses tactics to generate and feed your prospects so that you can gradually transform them into customers.
Finally, Content marketing gives your business a huge advantage to stand out from your competitors who do not practice it.
But the reverse is also true.
Not practicing Content Marketing puts your business at a disadvantage because Content Marketing contributes to all the levers of Digital Marketing, and even to all your traditional Marketing actions.
Keeping a Business Blog is the Basis of Content Marketing
Personal blogs have given birth to Content Marketing for businesses.
Companies that maintain a blog get 55% more visitors to their websites than those that don’t (source HubSpot).
Corporate blogs are commonplace today to provide high-quality information for free to your website visitors. With all of this content posted on your corporate blog, you are seen as an expert in your field.
As you provide them with free useful advice on your activity, this establishes a relationship of trust with your readers. And with recognized expertise and a relationship of trust, you are not far from being able to make a sale.
Our advice: Keeping a business blog is the quickest way to create a sharing platform and turn your business into a content-generating machine.
Content Marketing contributes to the SEO of your website
There are many tasks to improve the SEO of your website. But nothing compares to Content Marketing to boost the SEO of your site on Google. And it makes sense.
Google’s goal is to match the most relevant information with its users’ search queries. As a result, without content, you have no chance of being ranked high in the search engine results pages. Natural Search (SEO) requires content. And Content Marketing is a flood of content.
The proof: if you arrived at this article, it is probably with a search on Google. There is no SEO without content since you need words, articles, substance.
In search engines, you position yourself for specific keywords available in your content. Having lots of content means having more keywords, and therefore ultimately more ranking possibilities in Google. The other major factor of SEO on the Internet is obtaining backlinks. When other websites link to your site, Google treats you as a respected authority and ranks you high. And how do you just get backlinks? Produce quality content so that other sites want to quote them in their content, with links pointing to your pages.
Finally, Google also promotes regularly updated websites. So by posting content regularly, your website will likely be ranked higher.
On the other hand, without new content, Google assumes that your website is abandoned. As a result, it lowers your rankings for fear of highlighting obsolete pages.
Our advice: Focus your main SEO efforts on Content Marketing.
Content Marketing is the starting point for your emailers
Buying or renting an email address database is increasingly difficult if you want to secure your activity. Besides, it has never worked. So how do you do it?
Your Content Marketing should be thought of to get the email address of your readers.
For example, white papers available for download usually address the questions your prospects are asking. But they also point your readers in the right direction: your product and service offering!
Encouraging them to subscribe to your newsletter or to download a white paper or a Bonus is a smart way of collecting their email address and, therefore, of being able to keep in touch with them. With an email subscriber base, your business has what it takes.
Share more content,
Keep in touch with your prospects,
And possibly encourage them to contact you.
Content Marketing replaces public relations
Public relations includes all the communication methods and techniques companies use to inform internally, but especially externally.
However, it’s the 21st century. Your customers are always connected to the Internet at their office, home, and even on the go. So you no longer need to rent a TV spot! Upload a video to YouTube, and you can reach millions of people for free.
With a little luck, your video can go viral and generate a significant volume of traffic and increase your visibility. You don’t need to use an advertising agency to broadcast an ad. Use Google Ads.
Blog articles have also replaced press releases, and Facebook Live the traditional press conference.
Our advice: The Internet is reducing the gap between a business and its target customers. And Content Marketing provides all the supports to animate your public relations for free!
Content Marketing improves customer service
Content creation isn’t just for attracting leads. Good Content Marketing also helps your existing customers.
Simplify their lives with:
Tutorials to help them use your products and services correctly,
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) are great topics. When a client asks you a question, it is more efficient to send them to the right page rather than writing an explanatory email each time.
Note: Content Marketing is also a strategic weapon for recruiting new talents. Any candidate will come to look for information on your website to understand who you are and decide to work for you.
Types of Content
What are the best practices for Content Marketing?
You are now aware of Content Marketing and its importance, but how to do it well?
This is usually where most entrepreneurs face challenges. Fortunately, by following a few basic good practices, you can reap the benefits.
Set a goal
The success of Content Marketing goes far beyond publishing content.
Measuring your Content Marketing impact is the only way to know that what you are doing is working. And for this, it is essential to define the objective that you expect from it clearly.
Without a well-defined goal, the content you produce just adds noise without meeting the needs of your customers.
Although the goal of Content Marketing depends on your business, here are the five most common goals:
Develop your brand,
Drive traffic to your business website,
Convert prospects into customers,
Build customer loyalty.
In a B2B context, Content Marketing is also a proven way to feed your prospects so that they want to get in touch with your company.
Identify your target audience precisely (Persona)
Not analyzing your buyer profiles is the most common mistake of a Content Marketing approach.
Without taking the time to understand your audience, how can you identify the subjects that will interest them?
Organize a brainstorming session with your team to identify the characteristics of your personas:
Age range, location
Level of education, home groups
Way of talking,
Internet habits, favorite sites
And take inspiration from this model to formalize them.
Follow the buying cycle or intentions of your visitors
This is the principle of free entry into a store.
Some consumers enter, ask questions, and exit without buying anything. Others go directly to the right department, take a product and run to the checkout.
So, for your Content Marketing, are you doing the same thing?
Post content for all stages of the purchasing cycle:
Awareness of the problem,
Search for a solution,
Consideration of a solution
Purchase the solution.
This is because visitors to your website are in a different phase of the buying cycle.
Some are just looking for information (TOFU or “Top of the Funnel”). They may not be aware of their need yet and have little interest in what you have to offer.
But, at the same time, prospects visit your site for the nth time. They know their needs and their problems (MOFU or “Middle of the Funnel”). They are looking for the best solution to help them solve it.
So carefully organize all of this content according to user intentions to engage the right kind of visitors, at the right time with the right content.
Being aware of the different stages of your prospects’ maturation is essential for the visitor experience and crucial to the success of your generation of B2B prospects.
If your content is poorly organized, don’t expect to receive a lot of phone calls.
Publish quality content
The main objective of Content Marketing is to provide information to your readers and prospects.
For their part, they seek quality information, that is to say, that it is useful to them. So always prioritize quality over quantity.
If your quality score drops, you will start losing readers, prospects, and ultimately customers. To write quality content, respect your company’s communication style, be honest and authentic, and stimulate reading.
Write about what you know, what you master, and with your beliefs.
Don’t be afraid to take a stand. Your unique point of view. You will distinguish yourself from the rest of the noise.
However, nobody wants to read an article written by a self-centered entrepreneur. So avoid creating content about yourself, your offer, and even your business. Instead, focus your content on the needs of your audience with storytelling techniques.
Also, write as you speak: your content seems less formal, and therefore more interesting. Grammar and spelling mistakes are obviously to be avoided. Then, before publishing any content, allow 24 hours to elapse, then read it over carefully.
Important: The title of your content is the first thing that people see on Google, on your website, on social networks, in your emails. A catchy title makes you want to click. Work it carefully.
In addition to the title, the introduction (and conclusion) should show the value of your content. So, arouse the curiosity of your readers to encourage them to read your article until the end.
Finally, with Google’s algorithm becoming more efficient, quality content is the only reliable way to stay ranked.
Publish regularly and maintain an editorial calendar
To keep your audience active, it’s important to post frequently.
Indeed, as soon as you stop publishing for a significant period, your readers will stop visiting your website. So post as often as possible, while ensuring that your readers are addicted to your content.
To be sure to respect your publication rhythm, and to keep the overall coherence of your content, set up an editorial calendar. Thus, you establish the messages to communicate, the most suitable types of content, and their publication date. This is the objective of an editorial calendar. Without a schedule, it is impossible to plan in advance.
Avoid the headlong rush
You are not a media site looking for the latest scoop. Hence, avoid publishing content whose validity is too short.
Experts in Digital Marketing talk about permanent (or evergreen) content. Permanent content becomes a lasting asset for your Content Marketing. But it also can meet the needs of your customers over time.
Despite all these precautions, all content will become obsolete: your offer evolves, as do the needs of your customers and also Google’s algorithm.
Hence, rather than posting new content, regularly review your existing content to update or make it better. Also, remember to recycle your existing content to optimize your workload.
Recycling your existing content is the easiest and most cost-effective way to stimulate your content creation without compromising the quality of your resources. You can do this by finding a way to reuse your existing content to create new, thought-provoking resources.
Here are some ideas for reusing your content:
A report can be divided into several articles,
Create a video, an infographic on Canva or a set of slides linked to an existing article,
Conversely, transcribe your audio and video files in a written format,
Improve your existing content by addressing new points,
Promote your white paper by posting an excerpt.
Don’t let your content age and see your work go up in smoke. On the contrary, recycle it. You give it a facelift with little time to do it.
All your content will generate dialogue. Dialogue also creates word of mouth, which can potentially transform the way consumers see your brand.
So, as you want your readers to contact you, encourage them to do so.
Call to action (CTA) buttons: In general, many entrepreneurs forget to add calls to action on their content. And the best way to guide people to other parts of your site is to have CTA incentives. Each web content must have a goal.
And no matter what the goal – get a quote or download a white paper, always add one CTA!
This rule also applies whatever the lever of Digital Marketing: emailing, social networks, online advertising.
Sharing buttons on social networks: Watch yourself consuming content on the Internet. As soon as you enjoy an article, you look for the social share button to share it with your friends or colleagues. If the button is not present, you drop.
So make sharing content as easy as possible for your readers. Social sharing buttons improve the user experience and also contribute to the visibility of your brand. A simple social sharing will reach one or more other readers, who can, in turn, share it with others, who can then relay it. Do you see the snowball effect? So place sharing buttons accessible to your readers so that you can access them wherever they are on the page.
Last tip: also encourage your readers to comment on your articles by adding one or more open questions at the end of them.
All these points invite interaction and, ultimately, improve the collective user experience.
Promote your content
Creating your content is one thing. Then make sure that your message reaches your future customers. Promote your content on social networks
To do this, promote it on social networks and via a newsletter. Social media accounts are among the most valuable resources a business can have. Sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are full of members of your audience and other potential customers waiting to be found.
So share your content with them!
It can only help answer their questions while immediately establishing your credibility. You have spent time creating quality blog articles. Sharing your articles on social networks expands your audience by taking advantage of the shares of your subscribers.
B2B marketers often wonder how to use social media.
Best practices for B2B Marketing specialists to integrate Content Marketing and social media:
Choose the right networks: Identity where your target audiences spend their time online and the platforms on which relevant conversations have occurred. For B2B, it is undoubtedly Twitter and LinkedIn. Then, some content is better suited to LinkedIn, others to Twitter. Again, find out what your audience expects and on what networks and experiments.
Publish at the right time: all platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn give you access to your statistics. So you know the days and times when your audience is most active. Test and analyze your results.
Promote your content with emailing: Similar rules apply for promoting your Content Marketing via email. In particular, practice segmenting your email address databases to send the right message to your audience and checking the sending times. On the other hand, emailing is only possible if you have a good base of contacts. Again Content Marketing comes in with what Digital Marketing experts like a customer.
Content Marketing Channels
Social Media: Social platforms allow you to contact your customers and prospects through the “comment” or “share” options. If we exclude the role of customer service played by social networks, it is your content strategy that must dictate your strategy towards social media and not vice versa. Your brand content that circulates can be commented on, shared, communicated, and enriched by consumers. They become ambassadors for your brand.
Email: If you have a list of emails filled with potential customers, you can use it to attract customers to your site and boost your sales. Keep in mind that you have to encourage people to join your mailing list, and merely asking them to do so will not be enough. What you can do, however, is offer them downloadable content in exchange for their email address. As long as the proposed content is interesting and relevant, there is no reason why they refuse.
Link Building: To attract the most audience on your content, you must increase it in Google positions. For this, you need to get backlinks. More specifically, it links to sites that are authoritative in your industry or related to the subject of your article.
You should, therefore, go in search of other web copywriters who could link to your article.
Advertising: In addition to publications on social media and within your community, have you considered using your article as an advertising medium to attract new visitors to your website?
If your title is attractive and your subject corresponds to your persona’s expectations, you can promote your published content. All you need to do is target a specific audience and encourage them to visit your website.
Content Partnerships: Through content partnerships or syndication, you can ensure that your resellers have up-to-date content about your products/offers featured on their websites to improve the conversion of visitors to consumers. Content syndication can apply to banners for your offers on the partner’s site, up-to-date landing pages with all information about your products, and much more.
How to Measure Your Content Marketing Efforts? Measurement and Metrics
In a perfect world, you publish content, and immediately your turnover increases, as if by magic. But unfortunately, it does not happen like that. So how can you be sure you are on the right track?
Here are three indicators to analyze your performance.
1. The volume of traffic
Increasing page traffic for content is a useful indicator of whether your content is paying off.
Use Google Analytics to analyze the number of page views and the primary sources of traffic.
If you find that some of your content isn’t attracting a steady flow of traffic to your website, it’s time to reassess its presentation or subject.
2. The level of engagement
The volume of traffic determines the number of people that your content reaches. But this data does not guarantee engagement.
There is a difference between reading, commenting, and sharing a post, and just visiting a page and then deciding that it doesn’t interest you. The statistics of social sharing buttons measure the level of social engagement on your blog posts.
The number of comments is also a good indicator. They show that your visitors have read the content well to form an opinion on the subject or have developed a question.
On Google Analytics, the bounce rate and the duration of visits also influence the level and quality of the engagement generated by a particular content
Finally, social networks all have a statistics system.
The number of tweets, retweets, comments, shares, and likes of content is strongly correlated to your audience’s perception of this social network.
These indicators highlight the platforms that offer the best performance.
But the most important indicator to measure the effectiveness of your Content Marketing is undoubtedly the number and quality of conversions. Conversions from prospects to customers translate into revenue. Therefore, the higher the number of conversions, the higher the value generated. Conversions indicate that your visitors understand what action they are expected to take if your content contains a call-to-action. It also implies that they are interested enough in what you had to offer to do this.
To do this, set up conversion tracking on Google Analytics.
And to go further, use Google Tag Manager to track all clicks on your CTAs.
To assess your conversions, research the sources responsible for the highest conversion rates. For example, were people more likely to convert e-books or webinars?
Conclusion on the Benefits of Content Marketing
This article is comprehensive yet not exhaustive. What you need to remember for now is to master the fundamentals of Content Marketing.
Substantially, Content Marketing can be successfully implemented with the following tasks:
Set up a business blog,
Get to know your buyer profiles or your target audience (persona),
Become aware of all stages of a purchasing cycle,
Decide what types of content best serve your business,
Publish quality content regularly,
Promote it on social networks,
Measure, test, improve, repeat.